There's a saying making the rounds on twitter, facebook and the occasional protest sign:

Obama is not a brown-skinned anti-war socialist who gives away free health care. You're thinking of Jesus.

It's a clever saying, but Jesus frowned on forcing one's views on others, not to mention taking things from people by force. Thus he was not a socialist.

Voluntary charity? He was all for it. Submitting to an oppressive government? His own advice. Using government to oppress others? Not his cup of tea.


  1. Socialism is best if kept within the family. Oh wait, maybe I mean incest? ;-)

    I don't think the point of the sign was to make a favorable comparison of Obama with Jesus, but rather that Obama isn't really a socialist, and that such comparisons are no better than any other poison-the-well argument.

  2. I suspect that pro-socialism people view Jesus as socialist because they overlook socialism's inherent coercion, and that anti-Obama people call Obama socialist because they over-emphasize the coercion aspect of socialism (making any left-wing coercion into "socialism"). People voluntarily cooperating? That's not socialism, they say, that's just being good neighbors. Or democracy. Or charity.

    Personally, I don't care about political personalities as much as political ideas. What President Obama secretly longs for is less interesting than what he proposes in my opinion.

  3. coercion, are you serious? all laws in all forms of government are coercion. you think it is wrong to put people in jail for murder? "socialism" includes things like public roads, schools, etc. a just Christian government will insure that all people have access to things like food, shelter and healthcare. all you care about is one's individual choice in the matter? so what is someone is coerced into contributing to the welfare of others? all that is lost is the happiness of that selfish individual. what about thinking about other people? yes, the poor people and the sick who Jesus loved and spent his time with when he was here on earth. think about that next time you go off on some selfish tangent about taxes and healthcare. and just a heads up, but yes, Jesus did have his own form of "coercion"--ie laws (10 commandments) and rules regarding the rewards of living a holy life or the punishments for living sinfully. Remember “a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven”
    you can escape socialism by moving to some godless, selfish country where you can keep all your precious stuff. But you if hell isn’t a form of coercion, then I don’t know what is. Oh, and you might keep these words in mind: If thou wilt be perfect, go sell what thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.

  4. My view on coercion is this: in general, government should minimize the hurt it inflicts. (The same is true for individuals.)